Brits don't spit

Trip Start Jan 12, 2011
Trip End Jun 02, 2011

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Where I stayed

Flag of Argentina  , Northern Argentina,
Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dad OK, Auntie Beryl found after 17 hours (police escort at 2.00 am) Brother on his way to look after Dad and us heading to a wine producing town. Much Better!
Cafayate is a really pretty little town right in the middle of an incredibly beautiful valley. At 1683m its one of the highest wine producing towns around. 
 After yet another fantastically beautiful bus trip through the richly coloured sandstone valley, we got ourselves a room at an Apartment Hotel on the main road into town and went for an explore. We had arrived in time for the school run, but they don't use 4x4s here, its bikes or scooters. The kids wear lab coats for school so its quite a sight seeing all these little professors on the back, or front of these scooters. 
 We are very well used to seeing dogs on every corner in Argentina. Not here though, because the donkeys are already there! Sharon got really excited about the donkeys with the result that we now have hundreds of donkey photos. Still, we have thousands of "men-in-hats" photos.
That evening we went for a drink in a local wine bar recommended in the guide book, ended up doing a tasting of five local wines. We had our first exposure to Torrontes, a white wine very suited to high altitude, almost as clear as water and with a real smell of pineapples which was really nice. (sorry, went all Gilly Gordon there for a while). 
The Sauvignon blanc was OK, but I've had better in NZ.  Then we had the big Malbec, a Cab Sav and a pudding wine. Never really got pudding wines, but we drank it all the same. We got chatting to the owner and he was telling us that he was on the verge of going out of business when he got a mention in Lonely Planet, now business is booming! Headed back to the apartment with a bottle of Don David and a bag of crisps. 
The place was now full of families on scooters, Mum and Dad with a kid wedged in between or on the handlebars or both. Not a crash helmet between the whole town.
 The Apartment was indeed on the main road, which turned out to be quite busy for what I thought was a sleepy little place, but funnily enough you couldn't hear the traffic over the noise of the air conditioner
Next day had a few empanadas to prepare us for our wine tasting. Started out at a little Bodega called Nanni, that has a free tour followed by a tasting for $5 (less than 1). We looked at each other in horror as the rest of the group spat out their wines into spittoons!  Ended up buying a Torrontes and a Malbec. Next visit was disappointing, miserable girl with no interest at all. Still, drank her wine and tottered off! 
 We ended up at Bodega El Esteco, which produces a blend of 40% Malbec, 40% Cab Sav and 20% Syrah. Not sure whether it was all the other wine we had had or the sun cutting through the vine leaves as we drank it in the courtyard of the Bodega, but it was one of those really good wine experiences that come along once in a while. Bought a bottle to bring back with us (not really sure if these bottles are going to make it all the way home though!).  That night I had a traditional local dish which turned out to be a glorified egg and chips. Nice though. 
Cafayate is a really nice place, on reflection we probably should have stayed another day. 
Next day it was off to Tafi del Valle. The guide book says its a lovely hilltown. Well maybe it was because it was a wet Sunday, maybe it was because we loved Cafayate so much, but Tafi del Valle didn't do anything for us. We did stay at a lovely Estancia with llamas in the front paddock though which made up for it. Next stop La Rioja.     
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Mick on

Cracking read Andy .... incidentally, I suggest a good 15 year old as a remedy for tooth ache

andyryder on

please god you mean a single malt!

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